This is what you’ve been waiting for, the conclusion of my Conan – Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of review! Usually my reviews are not that long, but this time I decided it was time to try something new. Please let me know in the comments below if you prefer this more in-depth approach to shorter first look posts.
Before having a look of the rest of the book’s content I have to talk about the artwork. I already mentioned Modiphius’ high production values in the first part of the review, but I just have to mention it again. You’ve seen the pieces I included in my review and I doubt you’ll disagree with me if I say that the artwork used throughout the book is not only gorgeous but also a perfect fit to the source material. The layout is a standard two-columned layout, the fonts chosen are highly readable. I’ve definitely seen fancier layouts in my time, but I get the impression that Modiphius focused on readability over fancy here. This was actually a wise decision because a lot of modern RPGs are often being accused of being hard to read especially if you’re eyesight is not as it used to be. Since we roleplayers are an aging demographic, it makes sense to keep things like that in mind. Nevertheless, the Conan corebook is a sight to behold. I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy!
Before delving into The Hyborian World and the remaining parts of the book, let’s have a quick look at equipment. Conan has a quite extensive chapter on equipment, including long lists of various weapons, armor, and other belongings. There are also rules for mounts like horses or more exotic ones like camels. Since Conan was also an infamous pirate for a time of his life, we also get rules for boats and ships. These are not too detailed, but at least allow you to make use of sea travel in your adventures.
This is part two of my review of Modiphius’ Conan – Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of. Last time we mostly focused on the character generation and the rules in general. This time we tackle Skills and Talents, as well as Combat and Sorcery.
But before talking about Skills and Talents I have to add something which I forgot last time. Aside from the character creation method I described in the first part of the review, there are two additional ones: there is a fully random character creation in which you roll 9d20, assign an order to the results and pick the options indicated by the dice rolls. Done. This is definitely a quick method of creating characters but not something I’d recommend. There’s also a method for creating larger-than-life characters which can go toe to toe with legends like Conan himself. Overall it’s obvious that the designers put a lot of thought into the whole character creation process. It reminds me a lot of the various lifepath character creation methods.
Let’s move on to skills and talents now. Conan includes a length list of skills including but not limited to Acrobatics, Command, Healing, Lore, Ranged Weapons, and Warcraft. Each skill grants the character access to a tree of relevant talents. You might know similar concepts from computer games. I also faintly remember that Exalted something pretty similar. These talents allow to further customize your character to your wishes even after character creation. I’ve included an example talent tree to the right. Tying talents to the various skills is definitely not a bad idea. It definitely helps players to find talents useful to them more quickly, because they just have to check those tied to their most important skills.
My first contact with Conan the Cimmerian was the 1982 movie “Conan the Barbarian”. It might not be the best movie ever and not very close to the Conan from Robert E. Howard’s stories, but still I was deeply impressed by the movie. I always wanted to learn more about Conan’s world, but it was many years later when I finally got my hands on a copy of Howard’s original Conan short stories.
I wouldn’t call myself a Conan fan, but I enjoy the mixture of swords & sorcery with elements of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos which creates a delightfully different atmosphere to the standard Tolkienesque fare we often get nowadays. When Modiphius first announced that they were producing a Conan game I was thrilled. Unfortunately my financial situation at the time did not allow me to support the Kickstarter project. So I patiently waited until release.
I eventually got in touch with Modiphius’ Chris Birch who gratiously provided me with a review copy of Conan – Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of. The printed book is still a couple of months away, so this review is based on the already available PDF version of the game.
I will also try something which I haven’t done before. This review will be split into multiple parts. The core rulebook to the Conan game is a huge book and squeezing my review into a single 1500 words blog post wouldn’t do it justice. So this review will consist of at least two parts. The first, which you are reading now, mostly focuses on the character creation, and my thoughts on the 2d20 System in general.
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